Dimitrije E. Panfilov
It is possible to make drawings on the skin with special water-resistant felt pens. We have learned to use drawings in liposuction in different body areas because fat tissue has a different arrangement and form when we stand or lie. Also the face has a different shape when we are standing, lying on the back, or if we are in a forward prone position. As we grow older the changes will be more and more obvious.
In breast surgery, we make drawings and markings when we plan surgery with the patient in the standing position. We know that the position of the breast is in front of a woman when she stands or sits. Both breasts flow to the lateral chest wall when the woman lies on her back. These changes also increase with advanced age.
Analogous to this methodology, it would be an advantage if we use felt pens for markings in the standing position when planning facial surgeries. Everybody judges herself/himself when standing or sitting, not in a lying or in a prone position. This is the best way to draw the vectors of traction which we intend to apply onto facial structures. Topographic points could be marked as well as incision lines and dangerous areas where the nerve branches are exposed.
We can surround the areas where we will apply liposuction in the head and neck or mark the structures where we want to add some volume by autologous fat micrografting. We are advised to mark asymmetric structures to correct them in a proper way during the surgery. In the middle of the neck, we can mark the midline to check our symmetric work in the neck areas. For instance, if we start with face-neck-lift on the right side, when we have finished it our midline will deviate to the right. When we have completed the left side, our marking should be in the midposition again.
When doing prosopoplasty, we often correct more facial "mosaic stones " and not only the facelift. After a couple of hours of surgery, we are not in danger of forgetting some of operative steps we agreed upon with the patient before surgery. Or the mistake will not befall us that happened to a poor Danish surgeon in Berlin. The patient was astonished after surgery that his upper eyelids had been operated on, and not as he wanted, the lower eyelids. All happened in front of running cameras. The TV audience was not enthu
siastic about this forgetfulness! With pre-existing drawings, such mishaps cannot happen.
Psychologically it is also good that the patient realizes the precision with which the surgeon prepares the surgery. This is the moment when the patient, standing in front of a mirror, can articulate his/her wishes and additional suggestions, or ask the last questions. Some patients call these drawings "Indian war colours" or some sort of "Aboriginal art". Anyhow, they also help the surgeon to recapitulate his/her surgical concept for this particular patient and to focus his/her mind on the upcoming surgery.
We use an Edding 3000 permanent marker, which is available in Germany. We recommend blue, black, and green. A red colour is not as visible on the skin as the other ones.
Was this article helpful?